Fresh off the re-processing table are the William A. Bake papers. The finding aid for this collection has been updated to increase access and discoverability. The following blog post was originally published in 2016, by Dan Devine.
Boundary Cliffs, 2003
William A. Bake, (1939–2016), a native of Michigan and resident of Boone, North Carolina, was an accomplished photographer, writer, teacher, and environmentalist.
William Bake hiking the Boundary Mountains, 2004
Bake is known for his stunning landscape and nature photography on Appalachia and southern regionalism. He was even considered to be the “Andrew Wyeth of photography.”
The Blue Ridge by William A. Blake, 1977
Before beginning his career path into professional photography, Bake worked as a writer and editor for the National Park Service in the Division of Publications where he broadened his experiences in observational writing and environmentalism. By 1976, Bake had started publishing his works on the Blue Ridge region and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was around the same time that Bake began to teach at Appalachian State University while living in Boone, North Carolina.
Shadows on Ridges, Boundary Mountains, 2005
After spending three years as an Appalachian State Practitioner-in-Residence for the Educational Media at the College of Learning and Human Development, he studied under famous photographer, Ansel Adams. This ultimately caused Bake to leave his job as a teacher to pursue his passion and a career in photography.
Meat Camp Cabin, 1979
By collaborating with publishing companies like Oxmoor House Publishing and Viking Press, Bake’s research and observations on Appalachia and the South led to publishing some of his major books: The American South: Four Seasons of the Land (1980); The American South: Towns and Cities (1982); Wayfarer: A Voice from the Southern Mountains (1988); and, Valle Crucis (1997). “Meat Camp Cabin” (above), “On High Route”, “High January”, and “White Bear Ridge” are now some of Bake’s well-known works in photography.
Across the Divide, Boundary Mountains, 2005
Bake’s photographs have appeared in Southern Living, Natural History, Audubon, Reader’s Digest, National Wildlife, The New York Times, Sierra Club, Popular Photography, The Washingtonian, GEO, Southern Accents, Yankee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, International Photo-Technik, Backpacker, National Wildlife, Travel and Leisure, National History, Outdoor World, National Geographic Society, and more.
Appalachian Pastorale, 1979
Bake used large format cameras for his photography. He is widely published in distinguished magazines, exhibited in museums, and bought by serious collectors all over the nation.
Bass Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, 2006
With much of his photography primarily focused on the Appalachian mountains and the southern region, Bake continued to capture photographs of landscapes and culture within his local area in the High Country.
Long Hope Sunset, undated
List of William A. Bake books available at Belk Library and Information Commons:
The American South: four seasons of the land
The American South: towns & cities
Blue Ridge Parkway: the first 50 years
Mountains and meadowlands along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Wayfarer: a voice from the Southern mountains
Learn more about the William A. Bake Papers at this link.
Contributed by Anna Smith, Manuscripts and Archives Processor